Accounting firms can enhance client relationships by embracing advisory services and leveraging tools and technology to transition from transactional services to proactive advisory services.
|What is the future of accounting?|
|Prepare for the future of accounting with Thomson Reuters Practice Forward®|
|How to turn transactions into connections|
In today’s economic landscape, roles are constantly shifting and evolving to meet the demands of compliance frameworks, changes in tax laws, and the expectation of more data on demand. Clients are turning to their professional teams, including their accounting firms, to take on more advisory roles.
For the accounting industry, to say having to “pivot” is an understatement. Clients are expecting much more than traditional bookkeeping, tax returns, and payroll services. This is an exciting and challenging time for accounting firms. There is pressure to rapidly ramp up service offerings while facing staffing shortages.
The shift from backward-facing reporting to more advisory services offers many opportunities for accounting firms to improve and expand their client relationships. With limited time and human resources, incorporating the right tools will set up accounting firms for future success.
What is the future of accounting?
Firms are at a crossroads, pine for the past, or embrace the present and prepare for the future. Already inundated with new compliance and regulatory changes while keeping up with new tax laws can overwhelm even large teams. And the AI revolution is transforming the way firms work from the ground up.
Accounting is facing talent shortages on two fronts, both in the reduction of new CPAs and an increased exodus of established professionals. CPA graduates may find other industries more enticing at the entry level, where more mature accounting professionals are choosing to exit the industry for retirement or alternative employment. Accounting firms are finding themselves pressured by fewer human resources and increased demands from clients.
The biggest challenge is the immediacy of expectation to client requests for more data on their business. Not only does this require more time spent responding to clients, but also the ability to quickly access the data and information required to respond to those inquiries.
For those future-proof accounting firms, adopting advisory services as part of their core offerings will be critical in expanding their service offerings, retaining clients, increasing revenue, and developing deeper relationships.
The reality is clients are turning to their accounting professionals for proactive advice on how to stay ahead of the market, and economic trends, and how to manage their income and expenses in an ever-tightening marketplace. Clients are expecting their accountants to provide deep, comprehensive insights and data to inform the decisions they need to make for their businesses to survive and thrive.
Accounting firms must decide if they are ready to embrace this industry shift and adopt new value-based advisory services to meet their client’s needs and stay ahead of the competition.
Prepare for the future of accounting with Thomson Reuters Practice Forward®
The accounting profession is facing a critical question: Do clients need more than traditional bookkeeping and tax return services? If the answer is no, then accounting firms will continue to compete in a saturated and low-margin market, where automation and commoditization are eroding their value proposition. However, if the answer is yes, then accounting firms have a tremendous opportunity to elevate their status and revenue by providing more proactive and strategic advisory services.
There are essentially two areas that require an overhaul to meet changing client demands:
- Adopting a proactive approach to client services. Anticipating a client’s needs and engaging in regular and frequent communication with clients to offer support in a range of areas from inventory management to mergers and acquisitions. Rather than waiting for clients to reach out, and responding with generic and potentially outdated advice, future-looking accounting professionals will find the appetite for a more intimate relationship with clients is much appreciated in an economy filled with uncertainty.
- Adopting new tools and technology. New technology empowers firms and teams with the data, processes, and programs required to deliver high-quality advisory services.
With 15 years of experience in the accounting industry, Thomson Reuters is on the front line of the changing accounting landscape.
Practice Forward is a tool designed to help firms transition from transactional, reactive services to proactive, engaged trusted advisors. Practice Forward was developed out of a deep understanding of evolving client needs and the firm’s need for a framework that would enable customized, professional services.
How to turn transactions into connections
Accounting firms are already strapped for resources and time. Implementing a professionally designed program like Practice Forward equips firms with the tools they need to transition into advisory services with a trusted service provider.
Having both tax programs that automate the preparation and filing of tax returns, alerts of any updated tax laws, and payroll programs that can handle clients’ payroll, tax, and compliance obligations in integrated software, firms can spend more time understanding client’s needs, goals, and challenges.
Smaller teams can do much more for their clients by providing personalized and strategic advice to build deeper relationships, and larger teams have a centralized data hub.
By proactively engaging clients, firms can build trust and credibility while clients begin to incorporate their accounting professionals as part of their executive team and consider them to be trusted advisors and not just transactional suppliers. This deepened relationship opens the doors for increased opportunities for more frequent and regular engagements.
In today’s world, people want more, and they are expecting more. Clients are increasingly turning to their accounting professionals for more than just bookkeeping, tax returns, and payroll. They are expecting more information and advice on demand.
To stay relevant and reliable, progressive accounting firms must leverage better tools to equip their teams with the resources required to provide exceptional customer service, add advisory services, and expand their revenue opportunities. The future of accounting lies in advisory.
To learn more about transitioning into advisory services, tune into our Practitioner Advice Series webcast where we address challenges, the industry shift, and how firms can leverage advisory services to grow their practice into the future.
Watch our on-demand webcast to learn how to:
For more information on Practice Forward and advisory services, explore our resources below:
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